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Messages - miah

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Thanks for posting these shots, AlanF. We all know you're accustomed to the rarified air delivered by the EF 300 f/2.8, so if you think this lens delivers it probably does. I look forward to more images and your overall take on the AF, build quality, etc. after your tests. And personally, I don't want to know "it's a good value for the money." The excellent price is great, and far more in reach than any of the big whites, but I want to know that my time out in the field using the lens is well spent.

OK, climber, thanks. I think I have it set up right, now. I didn't realize that as you press and then continue to hold the AF-ON button down it's focusing overrides the ability of the shutter button to initiate focus; the shutter button only initiates metering and the shutter. Cool!

apersson850 thanks for your input. On the Tv subject, I'll throw this point into our discussion. While I certainly agree that shutter speed is more important than aperture for BIF, Tv may ask for a wider aperture than your lens can deliver, resulting in inadequate exposure. Let's say you set Tv to 1/2000 and you're sure from previous experience that this is adequately fast to stop the subject. Tv asks the camera for its widest aperture, but f/5.6 just isn't good enough. You preview the resulting shots and they're all horribly underexposed because at that speed and that aperture the available light was just too low. Auto ISO gives the camera an out. It automatically pumps up the ISO (within your predetermined limits) if the first two factors are inadequate to deliver sufficient light.

Like cervantes said, at least Tv allows us to use Exposure Compensation, so sometimes it's a must, though we can continue asking Canon to provide this feature in future firmware. But I would argue that even when using Tv mode over M mode, at least in my limited experience, Auto ISO is the only automatic feature standing between me and a typically underexposed shot. Why underexposed? Because like cervantes I prefer a low ISO and typically set it too low for rapidly changing conditions when I do so manually.

Now, something else came to mind as I read over your advice for using the * button for right-zone focus instead of cervantes shutter button, and then climber chimed in with a way to quickly jump to the center zone. And perhaps this question is best answered by cervantes: apersson850's solution makes more sense to me--and I like climber's addition--because won't actuating the shutter to actually take a picture (after choosing to focus on the left or center zones using the AF-ON or multi-controller, respectively) ALWAYS jump focus back to the right zone? After all, the only way to trip the shutter is to squeeze past the half-way point on the shutter button, the same half-way point that asks the AF to use the right zone. Am I missing something here? If not, apersson850's idea to use the * button for the right zone and climber's suggestion to use the multi-controller for the center zone would allow us to use the shutter button for the one thing it's best at: snapping the photo.

I look forward to your comments!

cervantes, you are The Man. I've been searching for a succinct explanation of the 5D3's celebrated AF system with regards to BIF ever since I purchased the body a little over a year ago. Even the Canon tutorials on youtube are far less valuable than your advice. Thank you very, very much. I'm sure this took a fair amount of your time and those of us here on the forum appreciate it.

Your specific advice for AF settings was excellent, but I'd also like to hear your take on some other settings. As I work my way into shooting BIF, alone and without benefit of workshops or books, I've concluded that keeping the shutter speed high enough and aperture wide enough can only be accomplished in Manual mode. Av invariably gives me an unacceptably slow shutter speed (motion blur) while Tv often fails to select an appropriate aperture. That means Auto ISO must jump in there to make sure my defined shutter speed and desired aperture results in a proper exposure.

As previously mentioned by yourself and others, we need Canon to give us a firmware update that allows Exposure Compensation when shooting in M mode and Auto ISO, especially with birds due to the overwhelming brightness of the sky. But given this handicap, would you still advise shooting M and using Auto ISO? And if so, what ISO limits do you like? If not, how else do you approach the speed/aperture/exposure/noise conundrum when it comes to shooting feathered rockets?

I have my C3 parked with the following settings for BIF (in addition to making changes to my AF and AF-ON per your excellent instructions), please review and offer suggestions as this is the fast-dial place from which I start: Manual mode, 1/1000, f/5.6, Auto ISO, AWB, AI Servo, Evaluative metering, High-Speed shutter, 1000X 32GB CF only (SD card removed to improve buffer dump), RAW

Note that I'm typically outfitted with a 5D3 body and a 400 f/5.6 L prime lens or sometimes my 70-300 L zoom, with or without a Kenko 1.4X teleconverter, on and off tripod. I'm saving for a 600mm, but alas, that may be a long wait...

Thanks again for offering your advice and for the helpful members who've chimed in with their 2 cents.

Lenses / Re: Short tele for street portraits in Southeast Asia
« on: January 24, 2014, 08:14:18 AM »
I'm shooting in SE Asia right now, where I've been for over 3 months. The 24-105 cannot be beat for focal range versatility and not having to change lenses out on the street. That said, I also brought a 35mm f/2 (smaller, lighter, cheaper than L) and it has quickly become my favorite street lens--when and if you can get up close and personal. At home I have a 100L and love it to death, but travel requires doing more with less.

Software & Accessories / Re: Joby strap
« on: September 05, 2013, 06:43:18 PM »
I have the Joby and use it with the 5D3 + 24-105 and 70-300L. Comfortable, secure, well made. I recommend it.

Software & Accessories / Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: September 01, 2013, 01:43:16 PM »
Sounds awesome. I wish I could do similar trips. When you're going? How detailed trip plan you already have, or do you just go around without much plan?

I fly on Nov 4 and I NEVER have a plan or reservations (other than airline). Serendipity rules. One issue I'm running into again is that Vietnam, Burma and China still won't let me cross their borders on my bike, so if I want to visit them, I have to fly in like everyone else. Any interest in meeting up in Yangon for a photo-tour of Myanmar?

Software & Accessories / Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: September 01, 2013, 11:00:29 AM »
Honestly, I would stock up on CF cards and get a backup drive that reads straight from the card.  (Colorspace makes a nice one). 

I would leave the laptop at home unless you absolutely need to edit images while on the trip (You mentioned you might not have much electricity) Go light and get souvenirs and meet people.

When you get home you can take a week and just go through images.  Spend your time on the road making images and enjoying your trip.  Save the editing for when you get back home.

I have to have a laptop too, which is why I carry the smallest one out there (11-in MacBook Air), because I write travel stories and design/post web pages from the road. This means doing basic sorting and image editing both for my website and for a newspaper I freelance for. I also upload my GPS tracks to LR4 on the laptop, so that I can encode each image with location data. I've been doing this for years and have developed an efficient workflow, so it doesn't draw much time away from the more important travel experience. In fact, spending so many months alone on the road, often not speaking the local language and confined to my tent at night (rain, bugs, middle of nowhere, etc.), I find looking through the day's catch enhances the experience and helps me learn what to do/not do the next day, with regards to photographic technique.

Oh, and there's not one cubic centimeter of space available for souvenirs--so my photos serve that purpose.

Software & Accessories / Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: August 31, 2013, 10:32:49 PM »
Small portable solar panel to trickle charge your devices? Then you don't need to worry about power consumption.

I've looked into these, but the ones that put out adequate power are quite bulky and heavy. I can, depending on which bike I'm riding, charge a camera battery off of the engine while moving, but it's awkward and again, only possible on certain bikes.

Software & Accessories / Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: August 31, 2013, 08:59:42 PM »
Enjoy the trip - where's the next one?

Thanks for the tips, Frodo; always good to hear from a fellow traveler/motorcyclist. I'm heading back (my second trip) to SE Asia in Nov for 3-4 months. Most of my travels are off-road, camping in tiny villages or in the backcountry, hence the lack of amenities--like electrons.

wockawocka. My largest CF is a 1000X 32GB Lexar, but like you say, it wouldn't hurt to get either more cards or larger capacity cards. I'm just uneasy about having a full, 128 GB card go south on me; that's a lot of lost images. And to answer your question, yes, I do quite a bit of time lapse using a Satechi intervalometer.

Software & Accessories / Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: August 31, 2013, 01:17:42 PM »
Another idea:
I don't travel with a notebook, I look at my "harvest" at home.
In other words: what about leaving the notebook at home and carry some more CF and/or SD cards?
Mail and social contacts every smartphone could do.

On shorter trips I do just that, but when I'm out for months I need the notebook (an exceedingly diminutive 11-inch MacBook Air) to write and post to the web. I don't carry any sort of phone. Carrying extra CF cards is a good idea, for it would allow me to keep the computer/HDD turned off for a longer period of time. Thanks.

Software & Accessories / Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: August 31, 2013, 10:15:35 AM »
hgraf Thanks for your input. I've heard and read competing information with regards to drive speed. It seems a friend showed me some tests where the power draw of a 7200 vs 5400 RPM HDD was disproportionately small compared to the additional speed of delivery. I don't claim to know that much about it, but the article he showed me seemed to make sense. My objective is to speed the entire through-put, not because I'm impatient, but because every second the computer is on the battery is going south. There are times when I must make one charge last a week or more with daily use.

shashinkaman Yes, it's true: I'm an amateur photographer. So, what's your point? As I said, I travel alone and on foot or by motorcycle, so every cubic centimeter and every gram of weight matter a lot. And as for quantity of shots taken, I certainly take a lot more than I ultimately keep. Sorting, storing and processing the keepers is why I have to carry a computer and hard drives when in the field, since my excursions are typically multiple months at a time.

pwp Thanks for the heads-up on the Sanho device; it's nice to hear you and Don Haines have had good luck with them. I'll take a closer look online as my Nexto battery now lasts maybe 5 minutes and cannot be replaced (in my model).

I also appreciate everyone's kick in the butt to stick with RAW. I guess I was just hoping for an easy way out...

Software & Accessories / Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: August 30, 2013, 11:01:45 PM »
Thanks for the link, MSP, I was unaware that they had pushed to 2TBs in the 2-1/2" drive format. Unfortunately neither Newegg nor WD list the speed of this drive. I'll bet it's 5400 RPM, but prefer 7200 RPM drives. There are 1TB 2-1/2" drives that rotate at the higher speed, but as you say, they hold half as much data. Do you have one of these drives and can you tell me what its rotational speed is?

Software & Accessories / Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: August 30, 2013, 10:51:33 PM »
Have you thought about those automatic CF-copy-devices, can't remember the name/models, but the simple device where you stick your CF / SD card and it automatically copies it to the internal hard drive. If you want mirroring, get two of them. That way you don't need to haul your laptop around so much.

The Nexto HDD enclosure I mentioned is such a device. The problem is that it's internal battery is worthless and cannot be replaced/upgraded. That means that I have to plug it into my MacBook Air with its USB cable to get power as well as to view the files on it. This rapidly degrades the MacBook's battery.

Software & Accessories / Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: August 30, 2013, 09:35:05 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, guys.

OK, to make my objectives clearer, I could go on this 3-4 month trip with my current computer and HDD enclosures and shoot RAW, but I risk filling the HDDs too soon and slowing down my whole operation due to the size of the files. I'm often without electricity, so slow file transfers eat lots of battery.

I could solve the transfer time and get a more efficient battery by purchasing the latest MacBook Air, which has USB 3.0 plus a better battery, but this costs a lot of money (new computer plus one new HDD enclosure). Alternatively, I thought, maybe I could get by shooting JPEGs to squeeze more shots onto each drive and speed the transfer time (thus gaining power efficiency).

My current two external drives are a NEXTO Extreme (USB 2.0 + eSATA) 500 GB and a LaCie Rugged Mini (USB 2.0-3.0) 500GB. I attach both to my current MacBook Air using USB 2.0 which is very slow. Both drives are presently full, so either way I have to buy two, new 1TB drives to put in the existing enclosures. And to answer the question as to whether I could fill 1 TB in 3-4 months the answer is definitely yes, especially if shooting the 5D3 in RAW (the second terabyte simply mirrors the first, so I don't have 2 TBs of space--just one).

The 128GB SSD in my MacBook Air barely holds my system and apps, so all photo files are saved to the HDDs.

Buying new FW800 drives for an older computer and carrying a Thunderbolt adapter makes no sense, since Firewire is dead (they'll be obsolete once I do get a new computer). I don't think there is an adapter to convert eSata to Thunderbolt for my Nexto drive; at least there wasn't the last time I checked. Carrying more CF cards won't work for a trip of this duration. And uploading anything to the cloud is out of the question due to infrequent and extremely slow internet connections.

Sporgon's comments are along the lines of what I've always thought; RAW gives you a lot of PP options that might help rescue that once-in-a-lifetime shot. But I have to be practical. I can't physically carry more than one drive, plus one back-up drive. I have to preserve my Mac's battery during transfers, because I often have no access to electricity. Sometimes I nail 'em in-camera, but it's the rare shot that needs no PP.

Maybe, as some of you suggested, it's best to split the difference and shoot JPEGs in good light and RAW when it's dodgy. This would give me more PP possibilities for shots in poor light or low contrast, but still preserve CF/HDD space and transfer-speed/battery-life by shooting lots of JPEGs.

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